Chrissie Hynde is not one to romanticize the past, but she's done plenty that almost anyone else who has done even a tenth as much would be right to feel proud about. In the mid-'70s, Hynde moved from her home town of Akron, Ohio, to London, England, and landed in the midst of what was fast becoming the punk scene, just in time for a stint in an early version of the Damned.
As the leader of the Pretenders, Hynde wrote and co-wrote some of the most memorable and honest rock songs of the modern era. In the fall of 2008, she met songwriter JP Jones at a party, and the two began a fruitful exchange of song ideas that ultimately led to their collaborating on the album Fidelity!.
We caught up with Hynde and Jones in the middle of a flurry of activity and spoke to them about a modern vampire movie that inspired a song, as well as Hynde's personal influence on Jones and the vicissitudes of the music industry.
You have a song called "If You Let Me" that was partly inspired by the Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In...
Chrissie Hynde: In Great Britain, what Americans call "foreign films" are actually as common as Hollywood films. You come to the United States, and "foreign films," because not enough Americans can read subtitles, get no real distribution at all. That's really irked me for many years, because I love good films.
There was something thematically there that was almost a metaphor for us. They're already remaking that beautiful film -- for my money, one of the best vampire films ever made -- before most people have even seen it.
JP, you've said that Chrissie made you discover who you are. How so?
JP Jones: I was in a band called Grace, and we got dropped by our major label. We were pushed forward by producers and stuff like that, and told where we needed to fit. I felt stuck, and I wanted to do a solo album, but I got told I was being marketed like a hit songwriter.
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When I met Chrissie, she made me realize you just have to be honest. The best songs in the world come from an honest place, and they're not the songs written to be a hit on the radio. They were the ones written when someone was bleeding from their souls.
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CH: JP is the most solid guy I've ever met. He came up in a time in the music industry, especially in Great Britain, when they really think they know better than the artist. So they give you an advance, they give you a stylist who brings you some clothes, but they don't provide you with a guitar tech.
He's hardly a person who would be influenced by that. Some friends of ours in the U.K. were given a great push, but they got dropped because they didn't sell enough. They build them up and they shoot them down.
JP, Chrissie & the Fairground Boys, featuring JP Jones and Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, with Amy Correia, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 14, Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway, $35.50, 303-830-8497.